Enrique proud of ‘good play’ leading to winner

Enrique proud of ‘good play’ leading to winner

MADRID • Spain manager Luis Enrique credited his side for forcing Switzerland into a decisive error that gave La Roja a 1-0 win in the Nations League on Saturday, keeping them top of their group.

Mikel Oyarzabal snatched the only goal of the game in the 14th minute after the Swiss tried to play the ball out from the back but failed miserably.

Goalkeeper Yann Sommer misplaced his pass to Granit Xhaka because of Spain’s high press, with Mikel Merino nipping in to steal the ball and feed Real Sociedad teammate Oyarzabal, who finished with ease.

“The goal isn’t their mistake, it’s our good play,” said Enrique. “It was great work by our team that was rewarded by a goal.”

Barcelona’s 17-year-old Ansu Fati, who became Spain’s youngest goalscorer in their previous Nations League outing against Ukraine in September, might have doubled the lead early in the second half but his strike was blocked.

Oyarzabal then hit the side netting from close range at the Alfredo di Stefano stadium at Real Madrid’s training ground.

Wolverhampton Wanderers winger Adama Traore made his first competitive appearance with a bright cameo from the bench, after making his Spain debut last Wednesday in the 0-0 draw with title holders Portugal.

“I remember only one clear chance for Switzerland,” Enrique added.

“There is nothing I did not like about the performance. To pressure a team like Switzerland, who had three centre-backs and two midfield pivots, is complicated.

“I am also proud of the final stages of the game. At other times we would have gone backwards and today we have done the opposite, we continued to go forward so they couldn’t create chances.”

Switzerland carved out the first chance of the game but Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea, who replaced Chelsea’s Kepa Arrizabalaga, reacted well to deny Loris Benito, before the visitors handed Spain the lead on a platter.

    60% Spain’s win rate (six in 10 games) under Luis Enrique’s two spells in charge.

Oyarzabal said: “We also knew they were risking a lot from behind and we wanted to pressure them because we believed we could rob them and hurt them and that’s the way it worked out.”

Spain, unbeaten in 14 games, lead League A Group 4 with seven points from three games, two ahead of Germany. They face Ukraine tomorrow.

REUTERS